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Annual Report 2021 - Expanding to meet the needs of children and youth

Recognizing a gap in child and youth mental health programs in our region, Waypoint welcomed pediatrician Dr. Rob Meeder into the newly created role of Medical Director for Family, Children and Youth Program in September 2020. Dr. Meeder came on board to support Waypoint’s existing youth programs and work with partners to improve accessible, coordinated and high quality mental health care for children and youth across the system. 

In March 2021, we were excited to announce expansion of this program with the support from the Ministry of Health. Increased access to specialty services was needed long before the pandemic, and now even more with the increased impact of social isolation, closed schools, and pandemic-related family stress. The expanded services will include psychiatrists and pediatricians with a focus on child and adolescent mental health working in partnership with primary care providers and therapists across the Central Ontario region to support preventive, family-centred and trauma-informed care. 

In October 2020 we also received great news that the North Simcoe Youth Wellness Hub, originally established as a three year pilot project, was one of 10 provincial hubs to receive annual base funding from the province as part of a $24.3 million investment in mental health services for children and youth.

The Youth Wellness Hubs model brings together many community services offering “one-stop-shops” for youth aged 12-25, to address their needs related to mental health, substance use, primary care, education training, employment training, housing, and other community and social services. Integral to the model is a commitment to youth and family engagement, and their involvement in key decisions – from planning to implementation and program evaluation. 

Like everything else, the team at the Youth Wellness Hub embraced the virtual world and shifted their services to continue to connect with the youth of our community and support them through the challenges of life and the pandemic. The official kick-off held in September 2020 included a variety of activities including four editions of the Red Couch Series, interviews with experts on a variety of topics, an Indigenous teaching video, and an interview with Brian Francis, author of Break in Case of Emergency, a story exploring issues around mental health and suicide. 

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